2017 Steering Council Candidate Statements

EVA CHERNIAVSKY:

I am the Andrew R. Hilen Professor of English on the Seattle campus and current president of the UW Faculty Forward Steering Committee.  I have been involved with the unionization campaign on the UW campus since 2015.  In an earlier life, I participated in one of the earliest efforts (1989) to unionize University of California Berkeley graduate students. My organizing experience includes co-founding the Indiana University Progressive Faculty Coalition in 2001, an organization which works to bridge the local town-gown divide (bringing progressive faculty perspectives on war, militarism, empire, the surveillance state, and the defunding of public institutions into community forums).

I am committed to UW Faculty Forward because I believe there is nothing inevitable about the ever-worsening austerity that increasingly compromises every facet of teaching and research in this institution, while consigning an ever-larger portion of the faculty to conditions of financial precarity. Building a union that brings together faculty across all ranks and all three campuses is about refusing austerity politics, demanding adequate resources for the core educational mission of the university, protecting broad access to this public institution, and creating equitable conditions for all faculty.

RUSH DANIEL:

I am a lecturer with the Interdisciplinary Writing Program, within the English Department, where I teach writing courses with an anti-racist focus. I received my Ph.D. in English, Composition and Rhetoric, from the University of Wisconsin–Madison in 2012. While at the university, I was a member of the TAA (the graduate worker union of UW-Madison and the oldest graduate employee union in the world) and was active in the union’s protesting of the 2011 Wisconsin Budget Repair bill. Since graduating, I have taught at several institutions including Tennessee State University, Baruch College, and Philadelphia University. The main branch of my scholarship investigates issues of class, economic inequality, and debt in the context of the college composition classroom.  

Given my prior involvement in labor issues as a graduate student and my ongoing interest in labor and inequality, I am strongly motivated to become involved in UWFF. As a contingent faculty member with an interest in supporting other NTT faculty at the university, I would like to be actively involved with securing the best possible conditions for all faculty members of the university regardless of rank.

CHRISTOPH GIEBEL:

I am an Associate Professor of International Studies and History at UW-Seattle. I have long been active in faculty affairs, having served for nine years in the Faculty Senate, three of which in the Senate Executive Committee.  I have also served on the Executive Board of AAUP-UW for a good number of years and on the UWFF Steering Committee through 2016.  I am a member of the Faculty Appeals Board and the Adjudication panel.  I have been particularly active on faculty salary, equity, joint governance, and adjudication issues and has been a long-time proponent of faculty unionization.

DAVID GOLDSTEIN:

I am a principal lecturer in the School of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences at UW Bothell, where I have taught for almost twenty years. I teach American and ethnic studies, especially literature and film, and publishes in ethnic studies and the scholarship of teaching and learning. I am especially interested in improving work conditions for part-time lecturers at the UW, solidarity with staff (especially classified), and working toward collective bargaining.

AMY HAGOPIAN:

I have served five years as secretary of the board of the UW’s chapter of the American Association of University Professors (2012-present), and have served on the organizing committee since the beginning of the faculty union effort (early 2015 to present). I have served on other boards, as well (Seattle School Board, College Access Now, president of Garfield High PTSA board). 

I’m an associate professor in the School of Public Health, where I direct a Master of Public Health degree program, Community Oriented Public Health Practice, in which students master the core curriculum entirely through cases and problems. My academic interests address how the maldistribution of power and income undermines health through war, health worker migration from poor countries to rich countries, homelessness, incarceration, and racism.

ANDREA HILL:

I’ve been a lecturer in the UW Tacoma Social Work and Criminal Justice program since 2014, where I teach a variety of courses that focus on social justice and work. My commitment to labor justice began before I even fully understood exactly what I was fighting for: Being fired from my job at a windshield manufacturer in Indiana for adding the word ‘union’ to the other graffiti in a space (as she was walking me out of the factory, my supervisor helpfully informed me that “any other word would have been fine, but we don’t tolerate that word here”) when I was 17 catalyzed an abiding commitment to workplace representation and workers’ rights that continues to shape my academic work, research, and activism.

I received my PhD in Sociology from Northeastern University in Boston. Building on my dissertation research focus on non-union manufacturing workers in Indiana, I’ve continued fieldwork in the state to explore the pernicious neoliberal structures and ideologies that have created unsafe working conditions and individualized and alienated workers. A first generation college student, I was initially certain that my academic career would be nothing like the work experiences of my family members or the people I studied. Of course, my experiences adjuncting, navigating the academic labor market, and working with a number of movements for justice have revealed that being an academic with a PhD is not so far from being a teenager fired for her budding interest in labor: Without collective power and representation, all workers—no matter how ‘respected’ they may be—are subject to the insecurities and indignities of the market. As a non tenure-track academic, I’m committed to mobilizing the demand for representation and building the collective power necessary for a genuinely just workplace.

MOON-HO JUNG:

I am an Associate Professor of History on the Seattle campus, where I have taught courses on race, politics, and Asian American history since 2001.  I am the author of Coolies and Cane: Race, Labor, and Sugar in the Age of Emancipation (2006) and the editor of The Rising Tide of Color: Race, State Violence, and Radical Movements across the Pacific (2014). I am almost finished with my current book project, The Unruly Pacific: Race and the Politics of Empire and Revolution, 1898-1941 (under contract with the University of California Press).

I have been serving on the UWFF Organizing Committee and the Steering Committee for the past two years. I continue to believe that a labor union is the only way that we, as a faculty, will be able to press our university in a direction that promotes academic freedom and racial justice. We need to be less bound to current norms.

JAMES LINER:

I am a lecturer in the School of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences on the Tacoma campus. I believe firmly in the importance of faculty unions, the necessity of resisting the corporatization of education, the dignity and rights of faculty at all ranks, the value of education as a public good, and the immediate political urgency of UWFF organizing and activism. During my first term as a member of the UWFF Steering Committee and as Secretary for Minutes and Records, I have participated in actions and issue campaigns pertaining to UW hiring practices, job security for lecturers, and faculty oversight of shared-governance procedures, among other things. Before that, I was a public supporter of UWFF and an active member of our organizing committee. I hope to continue serving UWFF and UW faculty as a member of the Steering Committee for the 2017–18 year. 

CARRIE MATTHEWS:

I am a Senior Lecturer, English, UW Seattle and Director of the Interdisciplinary Writing Program. The faculty union is important to me as someone who received an excellent public school education (at the University of Virginia and UNC-Chapel Hill); who thinks access to quality higher education should be a human right; and who wonders if flagship state universities will exist in any recognizable form ten years from now. I think our best hope of preserving and creating actual “UW Excellence” is for those of us doing the work of teaching and learning—faculty and students—to make our voices heard and to accrue enough power to challenge “austerity is inevitable” scenarios and the current governance situation in which one’s pay check (hello, corporate Board of Regents) matters more than one’s knowledge of higher education in decision making.

A robust faculty union offers us the best hope of developing real power. I’ve been involved in faculty union organizing for two years now and see it as the only game in town that might be able to forestall further corporatization and dismantling of the substance of the university. Specifically, I advocate for preserving the humanities; treating the 70% of our faculty who aren’t tenure-track more equitably as well as reversing the decline in tenure-track positions; recognizing that we will not remain a well-ranked global research university if we gut departments such that they can’t even bring in new graduate students ethically; and building opportunities for faculty to communicate to legislators directly.

 

CHARITY URBANSKI:

I received my PhD from UC Berkeley in 2007, taught briefly at UC Berkeley and UCLA, and have been a lecturer at UW for the past nine years. While I was at Berkeley, I participated in the drive to unionize graduate students under UAW Local 2865. I saw first-hand how unionization and collective bargaining led directly to improved working conditions and remuneration for the graduate students who carried the bulk of the university’s teaching load. As one of the growing number of NTT faculty currently at UW, I am focused on the challenges facing contingent faculty who lack the protections of tenure, institutional support for their research, and often lack any sense of job security or stability. While I am particularly interested in advocating for better conditions for contingent faculty, I believe that the entire faculty faces threats that a union can help to address. I see unionization as our best hope for maintaining academic freedom, promoting equity, and resisting the corporatization of the university.

ARIEL WETZEL:

I have worked as a lecturer in Writing Studies at University of Washington Tacoma for the past three years.  While completing my PhD in English at UW Seattle, I served as a shop steward for UAW Local 4121 from 2009-2014.  I have also participated in various social justice causes, such as the Student-Worker Coalition at UW Seattle, Occupy Seattle, and the No New Juvi Jail movement.  I am proud to hail from Seattle, and be part of a strong union family.  My first labor action was the 1989 Western Washington grocery strike, where as a preschooler I joined my family on the picket line.  

ROB WOOD:

I am a Professor of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Washington, where I have been on the faculty since 2004. My research work focuses upon understanding processes controlling clouds in the Earth’s atmosphere and the roles that clouds play in determining climate variability and change. I served as president of the UW chapter of the American Association of University Professors from 2012-2016 and am committed to improving working conditions for all faculty at the UW. I worked to help establish the Faculty Forward unionization campaign and am a passionate advocate for faculty being at the forefront of all academic decisions of the University. I have served on curriculum committees at the department, college and inter-college level, and am currently starting a 50% role as associate dean for research for the College of the Environment.


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